Happy 1st Day of School Fairfield!!! We are so excited to be featuring these 2 AMAZING Moms on this special day – meet Liz and Lindsay, owners of Rome & Ollie! Rome & Ollie offers play kits for sensory play & endless imagination for your kids to keep them busy, happy & learning!! We were so thrilled to get our hands on their kits during the POPSHOP Market this past June in Fairfield and our kids LOVED them! Read more below about these 2 moms, why they started this creative company, why sensory play is SO important for little ones, and how they balance their work / mom life!
Where are you originally from and how long have you been in Fairfield?
I grew up in Queens and moved to CT when I met my husband. We moved to Fairfield last summer. We couldn’t be happier here!
Tell us about your Family!
I’m a mom of two, my son Roman is starting kindergarten TODAY (send tissues) and my daughter Quinn is almost 4. Jeff and I have been married 8 years this September!
My partner-in-play, Lindsay is a mom of two, too! Oliver is almost 4 and Sage just turned 2. She married her (other) best friend, Tyler, in Lake George in 2017.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you?
That I’m a 4th generation New Yorker. My family has lived in NYC since the early 1900s. I even stuck around for college at NYU and grad school at Columbia. And here I am in CT. I guess it happened when I pulled into a driveway after work, instead of searching for a parking spot for hours, and never looked back.
One thing you wish someone would have told you about motherhood?
That you’ll always be learning how to be a mother. You’ll learn how to be the mother of a newborn, then how to be the mother of a toddler, and soon the mother to a middle schooler… and so on, and so on. Motherhood is about figuring it out, and messing up, and learning and unlearning and just trying to do things a little better every day. And that it’s so, absolutely, worth it.
What’s your favorite thing about raising a family in Fairfield?
There’s a sense of community here you don’t find many places. And so much to do! I love that I can walk to town and grab a smoothie, see an old movie, stumble across live music, shop local, run into someone I know… and all right by the beach. It’s a dream come true to live here.
Best mom hack that makes your life easier?
Make it a game. When the kids are resistant to whatever it is they’ve decided they won’t do, make it a game. Kids against Mom: who’s going to buckle themselves into their seat first? Who can clean up the most toys before the timer goes off? Let’s put our pajamas on in the dark. Think you can do it? Basically, finding ways to make it silly and fun helps change the energy and redirect the battle. Win/win.
Tell us about your business “Rome & Ollie”, and when & why you decided to start up this business?
My business partner Lindsay and I met as first grade teachers in Brooklyn. We quickly became best friends. She even introduced me to my husband. And then, on the same day in October, we became mothers. (Total coincidence!) So it seemed only fitting to name our business, after our sons, Roman and Oliver.
As early childhood educators and moms, we have always believed that the most challenging tasks can be playful and the most playful experiences can teach. We have watched firsthand the world of possibilities children invent when invited to engage with the simplest of materials. So what started as activities we’d do with our own kids, and as homemade gifts for friends, became a leap of faith and a fun little business venture. We launched in January. It’s given our families a ton more quality time together—that might be the best part of all!
Why is Sensory Play so important for the little ones?
Sensory play has been researched to stimulate a child’s imagination while supporting problem-solving skills, language development, fine-motor skills, and independence. The less a toy does, the more a child is pushed to invent, engineer, roleplay and imagine. When kids interact with a bin filled with rice, they practice scooping, pouring, and explore measurement and volume. When they play with playdough, they develop important hand and finger muscles to pinch, roll, squeeze, and knead—muscles that will later yield a strong pencil grip and early writing skills. Then, when you add loose parts, you encourage children to teach, explain, question, and tell imagined stories. Play IS learning!
Tell us about the different kits that you sell.
Our playkits are collections of simple objects that children can interact with and explore in endless ways. In each kit, you’ll find a variety of curated materials for kids to explore from wooden fairies to dinosaur figures to seashells to wool balls to glass gems. They come in a variety of themes and can be paired with sensory rice or scented playdough.
We also make playdough party favors that can be customized to fit any theme. (Due to the number of small parts, we recommend these kits for children ages 3 and up.)
Where can families purchase your kits from? Any upcoming Pop-Up Markets that you will be selling at?
Local families can send us a message on Instagram @romeandollie to purchase and arrange pickup.
You can also purchase directly on romeandollie.com and ship anywhere in the US.
We’ve been having fun popping up at local markets. We plan to be at Designs by Lee in Stamford this September. We’ll share all confirmed dates on Instagram.
Best advice for moms who experience the inevitable MOM GUILT handling a career and raising a family?
I don’t think I’ve figured this one out. Mom guilt is real. We both follow Dr. Becky (@drbeckyatgoodinside) like mega fangirls and have learned and found comfort in the knowledge that honestly telling your kids what YOU need (to sit down for a minute, to finish your coffee, to go out for a walk alone), and having work and interests that are YOURS is important. It teaches children the value of looking inward, and listening to their needs and to voice them. So I see balancing work and family as an opportunity to teach them to seek that same balance as adults.
What advice would you share with a new mom or other moms?
Advice for new parents is EVERYwhere and one source rarely agrees with another. So, for what it’s worth, my advice is to listen to yourself, and your child. “In their own time, in their own way,” continues to be an important mantra for me. Everything from social media to milestone markers to reading levels can lead to a whole lot of unnecessary comparisons. Trust your child, and their journey.
We love supporting local businesses – favorite places in Fairfield to…
Have Dinner with Family: Geronimo’s- there’s something for everyone! The kids menu is awesome (and so is the drink menu!)
Grab a Drink with Friends: Malibu Taco
Have a Date Night: Date mornings after school drop-off are more common with our schedule and we love Playa Bowls!
Spend time together as a Family: Pizza on the beach at Penfield. Nothing beats golden hour and a coastline.
Outside Activities: A hike at the CT Audubon is always so calming.
Grab coffee: Shearwater Coffee is our go-to